A TERMINALLY-ill cancer victim, awarded more than £150,000 in compensation after spending years working with asbestos, says no amount of money will give him his health back.

Grandfather Charles Cochran says he accepts his condition and lives from day to day.

He was exposed to asbestos while working as a plumber at the Walker Naval Yard, on Tyneside, and a pipe fitter at the ICI chemical plant, in Wilton, near Redcar, east Cleveland.

Mr Cochran, who lives with his wife, Beryl, in Acklam, Middlesbrough, said: "I had a suspicion that I had mesothelioma as I knew I had worked with asbestos. But it still came as a terrible shock when I was diagnosed.

"This compensation is not going to bring my health back. It will make sure my wife will be looked after. It's a big relief for me to know that."

The 67-year-old has to use an oxygen machine three or four times a day.

He was diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma - a cancer of the lining of the lung associated with asbestos - earlier this year.

There is no cure for the disease and sufferers often have only months to live following diagnosis.

Mr Cochran said: "I get very short of breath and I notice this particularly if I try to walk upstairs.

"I can't do any gardening or DIY and decorating like I used to do for not only myself, but also for my children and stepchildren.''

Asked if he felt bitter, Mr Cochran said: "Not really. It is just part of life, you just accept it and just live day by day. I half expected it when the doctor told me.''

His case was fought by asbestos claims specialists Thompsons Solicitors, who have offices in Middlesbrough. Mr Cochran was a 16-year-old apprentice at Walker Naval Yard. He had no idea asbestos was dangerous and remembers workmates playing football with it during their lunch break.

He said: "Throughout my time at Walker Naval Yard, I was never offered a face mask or given any warnings about the dangers of working with asbestos.

"We wore our own clothes to work and went home in them still covered in dust. Conditions when you were working alongside laggers were very dusty."

In 1968, he joined ICI Wilton as a pipefitter, where he was again exposed to asbestos.

Andrew Venn, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: "Mesothelioma is a devastating disease for all involved. It is important asbestos victims and their family members obtain proper compensation from the insurers of the companies who caused the disease.''